Celebrating Black History Month: A Reflection

Featured: African-American Flag by David Hammond

Hi friends,

As Black History Month draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the profound impact this month has had on me personally, particularly within the context of my work here at Vote Solar.

Though, I should probably introduce myself.

I’m Karli Marshall, the Regional Communications Associate that engages with you through social media and email. Nice to meet you! 

I, along with plenty of other lovely folks, work behind-the-scenes to keep our organization holistic and running. As a Black person, this month holds special significance for me, as it provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and resilience of the Black community while also acknowledging the ongoing struggle for justice and equality.

“Constant inspiration” are the words that come to mind when I think of the incredible individuals I have the privilege of working alongside every day. Their brilliance, creativity, and resilience serve as a constant reminder of the rich tapestry of the Black experience and the indomitable spirit that resides within our community.

But along with celebrating achievements, it’s crucial to acknowledge and remember the harsh reality of systemic anti-Blackness that continues to permeate every facet of society. From racial profiling to environmental injustice, the struggles faced by Black folks are multifarious and persistent.

Yet, in the face of these challenges, my colleagues at Vote Solar have risen above with unwavering determination and rigor. I think of Charlene Turner, who is not only our Director of Operations but also dedicates her time to running her own non-profit envisioning community service careers for women, empowering communities through education and advocacy. Then there’s Lou Badger, whose artistic vision exceeds boundaries in the world of sustainability and whose designs have graced the pages of Vogue Italia and other renowned publications worldwide. And, of course, there is Dr. WIlliam Munn III, whose leadership and dedication to public service inspire us all, balancing a demanding career, the chairmanship of the Hoke County Democratic Party in North Carolina, and his role as a devoted family man. This is just a handful of Black talent in our organization.

Despite facing immense obstacles and enduring systemic injustices, they continue to defy expectations and carve out spaces for themselves in industries where Black voices are often silenced or ignored.

In celebrating Black History Month, it’s essential to recognize the intersectionality of our identities. As a Black queer person, I understand firsthand the importance of acknowledging and uplifting those whose identities intersect in complex and often marginalized ways. We must amplify the voices of Black queer individuals, disabled Black individuals, immigrant Black individuals – recognizing that their stories are integral to the tapestry of Black history.

And within the realm of environmentalism, there are countless examples of African American individuals who have made significant contributions to the movement for sustainability and environmental justice. From Dr. Espanola Jackson’s work in equity, economic justice and environmental justice in San Francisco to Majora Carter‘s transformative efforts in urban revitalization and environmental justice in the South Bronx – these are just a few examples of the impact African American environmentalists have had on shaping a more sustainable future for us all.

As we honor the achievements of Black individuals past and present, let us also recommit ourselves to the ongoing fight for justice and equality. Let us actively advocate for inclusive policies and representation, and stand in solidarity with African American environmentalists and their endeavors to create a healthier, more sustainable world for all.

In solidarity,

Karli Marshall

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